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Nebraska will begin collecting sales tax from online retailers beginning April 1 if Gov. Pete Ricketts signs a bill sent to him Friday.

Senators gave final approval to the bill (LB284) by Omaha Sen. John McCollister. Online sales tax revenue, estimated to be between $30 million and $40 million each year, will go into the state's general fund.

The Nebraska Department of Revenue has already told online businesses to start collecting sales taxes on orders placed within the state, but there wasn't a formal law in place.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states can tax online sales from out-of-state businesses.

The Legislature sent 25 bills Friday to Ricketts for his signature, including:

New office name

A bill (LB302) sponsored by Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango merges the State Energy Office and Department of Environmental Quality into a new office named the Department of Environment and Energy. The change will take place immediately.

Emergency lights

If they receive permission from a county sheriff, physicians would be allowed to use lights on any vehicle they are driving if they are en route to an emergency, under a bill (LB8) from Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue.

Child education facilities

Cities can ask voters if they wish to set aside a portion of sales or property taxes to help build new or renovate existing child care businesses. The bill (LB160) from Sen. Dan Quick of Grand Island adds the option to the Local Option Municipal Economic Development program created in 1990.

Power companies exempt

Nebraska's public power providers could withhold documents related to the physical and cyber assets of "critical energy infrastructure," including the identity of employees who work on those assets, under a bill (LB16) from Sen. Tom Briese of Albion. The exemption does not extend to general manager, president or CEO, or board members of public power entities.

Military vehicles

Former military vehicles will be able to be titled and registered as motor vehicles in Nebraska, under a bill (LB156) from Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon. Those vehicles cannot be operated on the interstate system, and must have headlights and taillights on at all times.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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